George William Lewis Marshall-Hall
On Reading Shakepeare's Sonnets
THY verse is like a cool and shady well
Lying a-dream within some moss-walled close
Far from the common way, where violets doze
In green-deep grass beside the sweet hare-bell.
And each wayfarer as he stoopeth there
Doth spy a face that is most like his own,
So weary and—ah me!—so woe-begone
That almost he forgetteth his deep care.
There is a royal restraint in thy sad rhyme,
Dis-calmèd calm, and passion passionless,
And mellowed is all taint of bitterness
Into the harmony of that still time
When leaves are yellowing in the sallow sun
And evening’s bloom is flush across the sky,
When haggard summer tottereth in his run
And gracious moist-eyed autumn draweth nigh.
O king! majestical in thy decline
As in thy Spring,—might such an end be mine!
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